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Trent Branch News

From Allan Gimson

For our July meeting we gathered at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield. This was well attended, and was opened with a presentation by Neil Thrift and Alan Colley about Major International stocks and bases.

Neil explained that Sheffield Teaching Hospitals and Nottingham University Hospitals in our Branch were already using their products, and they are providing training and support to them. They are also working closely with the production staff to develop new recipes and improve old favourites.

All the products are gluten free and Food for Life compliant. The company has a recipe file available to customers that is suitable for the NHS, or can be tailored to suit individual hospital’s patient tastes. Gravy mixes are available to suit all production types, whether cook-serve, cook-chill or cook-freeze.

A range of instant soups are being developed, which can be made up on the ward. Trials are taking place in NHS hospitals and the soups are formulated to meet NHS nutritional standards, so caterers can use the product with confidence. Another development is the creation of larger pack sizes to reduce overall plastic waste.

Neil then showed us the Mari base range, which are all vegetarian – and nine of them are vegan. These have a shelf life of 30 days from opening, allowing staff to make up items as needed, which makes them economical and minimises waste. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals’ staff confirmed that this was the case. Completing the range are hot and cold water starch variants, which are useful for Central Production Units.

Throughout Neil’s presentation, we were given samples of dishes prepared using the Major International products, so our thanks go to Neil and the catering team at Northern General for keeping us well fed.

The meeting over, we adjourned to the highlight of our social calendar – our annual visit to the dogs. As usual, this was an excellent night, with good food and very good company – and the usual mix of winners and losers.

We have had several questions from Branch Members about whether there is any animal cruelty in dog racing, so Liz Hawkshaw, our Branch Chair, visited the trackside to see for herself. Liz reports that the dogs are well looked after and really enjoy their run.

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